Archive for the ‘Anishinaabek’ Category.

Facts about expired Status Cards. You’re right. #WeDoNotExpire.

I’m casually supportive of those who are signing the online petition calling to remove the expiry dates on the Certificate of Indian Status.  I know first hand what a pain in the behind it is to renewed.  Last Fall, Deborah and I took officials from Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett’s office through the rigorous process, only to be turned away at the door because of one thing or another.

But before you sign that petition (or alternatively, send a letter to the Department asking to be removed from the Indian Register and that you don’t need a Status Card to prove you’re Anishinaabe), here are a few facts:

  • You’re absolutely right, online activist, #WeDoNotExpire.  It’s only your Status Card that expires.  Whether you have a card of not, you’ll continue to be on the Indian Register in Ottawa, if that’s your thing.  You’ll also continue to be on your Band’s membership rolls.
  • The Indian Registry and the Certificate of Indian Status are colonial instruments of the Indian Act.  It says right on the card:  “This is to certify that the holder is an Indian within the meaning of the Indian Act, chapter 27, Statutes of Canada (1985).”  Like, really??  Demean and racist much?  I’d much rather see a revival of the Anishinabek Nation Passport and a Nbisiing Anishinaabe Citizenship Card.  Hoo ah!
  • Right on the back of the card, in teeny-tiny print, it says “Property of INAC”.  It’s not even your card.
  • Prior to the requirement for expiry dates and up-to-date photos, there was a whole lot of Status Card fraud. Unscrupulous individuals used fake cards to illegally assume Indian status and obtain our rights.  This kind of fraud cost millions of dollars and was a considerable threat to our rights. Now with the additional protections that Ottawa has adopted (and unfortunately, the inconvenience to us law-abiding citizens), the unscrupulous simply cannot obtain or renew an authentic Status Card.  This is one of the main reasons that the Secured Status Card requires renewal and requires taking a new photo.
  • We can use the Secured Certificate of Indian Status to cross the border.  Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, secured Status Cards can be used for this purpose. Unfortunately, this meant Canada and First Nations giving in to the US requirements that a card be renewed just like a passport.  If we fly to the United Status, we can’t even use a Status Card.  We must carry a Canadian passport.  The passport has to be renewed at least every 10 years for an adult.
  • That being said, we shouldn’t need anything to cross the colonial border.  It is Indigenous territory on both sides.
  • The Secured Certificate of Indian Status contains biometric data.  The little, transparent photo can be used to identify you using facial recognition technology.  Sleep well.
  • As part of the Western Hemisphere Security Initiative, Canada shares Indian Register data with the United States.  To me, the privacy implications are far more concerning than an expiry date.  I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theory nut, but the US government means the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, CIA and Internal Revenue Service.
  • The biggest barrier with the new secured Status Card is that it can only be applied for, and renewed, at an Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada office.  Although your Band Office can help you with the application, it must be processed and sent out by Ottawa.  Long gone are the days were you can get your Status Card from the Band membership clerk.  This is particularly a barrier for remote and rural First Nations.  A mistake on an application form, can result in months of processing delays.

Indigenous Gala supports youth suicide prevention

Akweni_Ki_Gala_Sep2416

I’ve been pleased to support some very worthwhile and important work that is bringing hope for indigenous youth.  Jewel’s Cause was established in response to the passing of Jewel Monture, a Mohawk youth who took her life at the tender age of 12. Known to her community as Gah wediyo, from the Turtle Clan. She was an accomplished dancer in tap, jazz, ballet, hiphop, lyrical and Smokedance.

She was also a victim of abuse and bullying that ultimately left her in a state where she felt there was no way out.

Many of us, and many of our family and friends have been touched by youth suicide. Despite their grief and sadness, families have found the strength to overcome their pain in an effort to raise awareness to this difficult issue. It also raises awareness of some of the associated issues suffered by the youth, including bullying, online-bullying, abuse, depression, anxiety disorders and addictions.

On Saturday, September 24, Jewel’s Cause is hosting the Purple Tie and Glamour Gala, in association with Brampton’s first-ever indigenous festival, Akweni Ki. The Gala will take place at the Brampton Fairgrounds in Caledon, Ontario. Proceeds of this star-studded gala will go towards suicide prevention programs that will inspire, educate and empower youth through education, fashion, creative arts and mentoring.

Please support Jewel’s Cause by buying a ticket and attending the Gala.  For tickets, visit: www.oneidacircle.org.

 

It’s time to speak up for our Lake, the Nbisiing fishery & our rights from it’s biggest threat.

nbisiingfisheryThere are a few people around here that think they are back in the 1970s and 1980s fighting for Anishinaabeg fishing rights. They’ll post videos and messages that will trick you into thinking that they are the last free band of Indians fighting for their rights and freedom.

But it’s just not the case.  In reality, these misguided few are acting out of greed demanding their individual rights above all else.

They speak of “inherent rights” and “treaty rights”.  But what they’re really demanding is their individual rights above their fellow band members, above their grandchildren, above the Lake and above the fish.

Well let me tell it like it is.

These Nbisiing fisherman… or let me rephrase that… these “Nipissing-Indian-Band-status-card-holders” are fishing illegally! They’re certainly not acting like real Anishinaabeg.

They are, in fact, the biggest threat to our Lake, our fishery and our rights.

More reality…

  • The right to harvest fish is a collective right.  Period.  It belongs to me, you and our compliant commercial fishers.
  • The right to an indigenous fishery also means we have the right to regulate ourselves. Nipissing First Nation, our elected Chief and Council is doing just that with the help of the MNR.
  • My unborn grandchildren, your grandchildren, even their grandchildren and seven generations of future Anishinaabeg also have a right to fish.  They most certainly have a right to harvest walleye.
  • The fish have a right to survive as a species on our lake.
  • We have a right, responsibility and obligation to adhere to our most sacred of Anishinaabeg teachings: to look after all of Creation as stewards of the land and water… to speak for all those creatures who cannot speak for themselves. The Lake Nipissing walleye.

Do those fishing illegally care about these rights??  Of course not.  They are on the wrong side of the rights fight.

Our research… yes, Nipissing First Nation research which includes accepted scientific data, methods and analysis, clearly indicates, unequivocally, that the walleye fishery is in severe collapse.  The MNR’s data shows the exact same thing.  Our commercial fishery is not sustainable. That’s why our Chief and Council have closed the fishery.

You argue that the numbers aren’t right. Well you got us on that one!  They’re not right because you hide your real numbers in your freezers and coolers strewn about your front yards.  If we had more accurate numbers from you, the data would certainly show the fishery is far worse shape.

By your actions, you are saying “F*CK YOU” to the rest of us, to responsibility and to the collective rights of us Nbisiing Anishinaabeg.  You wrap yourself in a phoney cape of a “rights crusader” and continue to take-take-take.  That’s all you know.  Take-take-take.

You claim to be harassed by the MNR.  Well, for the first time in history, the MNR is on our side.  Nipissing First Nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding that enables them to help enforce our fisheries regulations.  They’re lifting your nets because we want them to.  The MNR and our fisheries department are working in partnership to stop you from fishing illegally in order to protect our fishery.  This is a good thing.

With all due respect, if it was my choice – you’d not only lose your nets.  You’d lose your boats, trucks, and ATVs too.

You don’t offer any new ideas to help the situation that you’ve helped create.  How will you help protect our fishery?  How will you ensure the sustainability of our fishery?  How will you protect the walleye that had fed us for millennia?  Instead you call your little meetings, talk sh*t about our Chief and Council, our fisheries program and accepted science, and wail on about standing up for indigenous rights.

Well boys and girls, the right to take-take-take is NOT Anishinaabe.  To disregard me and your fellow band members is NOT Anishinaabe.  You teach your children to disregard the fish, the science, regulations and the rest of your fellow Nbisiing Anishinaabeg.  If you continue on this course the walleye fishery in Lake Nipissing will be extinct.

Our ancestor’s signed the Treaty, created this way of life and fought for these rights for the benefit of seven generations into the future.  Not just for you.  Not just to take-take-take.

Here’s my call to action:

ACTION:  My fellow Nbisiing Anishinaabeg, I’m asking you to speak up.  It’s time to stand up and protect the lake, the fish and our right to a future fishery.  I’m asking you to stand up and speak out against those who threaten our fishery.  That’s not the MNR, our fisheries officials or our Chief and Council.  The real threat are from those who are fishing illegally, pretending to be the righteous, who disregard what is right.

New book “Sounding Thunder” honours a true Anishinaabe hero

soundingthunderMy good friend and Midewiwin brother Waabishki-makwa (Brian D. McInnes) has written a new book about his great-grandfather The Late Francis Pegahmagabow.  I’ve spoken with him over the years about this book, probably when it was a mere idea, long before he was writing it.  For him, it was much more than a literary work but a labour of Love, respect and rightful acknowledgement of a true Anishinaabe hero and Canada’s most decorated indigenous soldier.

He isn’t just a hero because of his medals or his actions in the military, Francis Pegahmagabow was truly the embodiment of what it means to be Ogitchidaa.  He wasn’t just a warrior who stood up to protect his people during war-time, he was a role model and true public servant in many ways.  He used his bravery and courage far beyond the battlefield for the benefit of his community and all Anishinaabeg people.

The legacy of Binaaswi-ban, Adik dodemun has been celebrated by our local Anishinaabeg communities for many years, but only recently shared by all Canadians.  We remember him through the stories of his family, including my uncle Baimassige-ban (the late-Merle Pegahmagabow), many Wasauksing Elders, political and spiritual leaders, academics and writers like Brian, Waub Rice and Joseph Boyden.

I’m looking forward to reading more about this man I’ve heard so much about.  Sounding Thunder: The Stories of Francis Pegahmagabow is published by the University of Manitoba Press and will be available on September 16.

Congratulations, Waabishki-makwa.  You make us proud, my Brother.  Chi-miigwetch for keeping his stories and memory alive.


Sounding Thunder:
The Stories of Francis Pegahmagabow

By Dr. Brian D. McInnespegahmagabow_statue

Francis Pegahmagabow (1889-1952), an Ojibwe of the Caribou clan, was born in Shawanaga First Nation, Ontario. Enlisting at the onset of the First World War, he served overseas as a scout and sniper and became Canada’s most decorated Indigenous soldier.

After the war, Pegahmagabow settled in Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario, where he married and raised six children. He served his community as both Chief and Councillor and was a founding member of the Brotherhood of Canadian Indians, the first national Indigenous political organization. In 1949 and 1950, he was elected the Supreme Chief of the National Indian Government.

Francis Pegahmagabow’s stories describe many parts of his life and are characterized by classic Ojibwe narrative. They reveal aspects of Francis’s Anishinaabe life and worldview. Interceding chapters by Brian McInnes provide valuable cultural, spiritual, linguistic, and historic insights that give a greater context and application for Francis’s words and world. Presented in their original Ojibwe as well as in English translation, the stories also reveal a rich and evocative relationship to the lands and waters of Georgian Bay. In Sounding Thunder,  Brian McInnes provides new perspective on Pegahmagabow and his experience through a unique synthesis of Ojibwe oral history, historical record, and Pegahmagabow family stories.


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Dr. Brian D. McInnes

Brian D. McInnes is a professional educator and author dedicated to diversity education, youth engagement, and organizational leadership. A member of the Wasauksing First Nation, McInnes has a deep interest in the preservation of Indigenous cultures and languages and is an accomplished speaker, presenter, and writer in English and Ojibwe. Brian is a descendant of Francis Pegahmagabow, and writing Sounding Thunder was an important opportunity for him to contribute to the legacy of his great-grandfather.

We are not the children of the 8th Fire… Far from it.

“We have to learn today what it takes to be better tomorrow.”

 

I don’t like to write anything pessimistic. When you start off your column with “I don’t like” you know it’s going to be one of those days.

Nanaia Mahuta.  Photo by  Radio New Zealand.

Nanaia Mahuta. Photo by Radio New Zealand.

This morning I was trolling through Facebook, eating my veggie omelette and drinking my decaf coffee. I offered congratulations to my friend Nanaia Mahuta, MP from the Waikato River region of New Zealand. Nanaia became the first Maori MP to wear the moko mauae, the traditional Maori chin tattoo. She said: “I wear my kauae tehe (moko) proudly… to bring the most positive aspects of what we have as a Māori culture, our mātauranga (knowledge) Māori, our world view, into New Zealand.”

It’s so good to see that Indigenous people from around the world, including many Anishinaabe, who are taking steps to make our language and culture a priority.

A good day, so far.

I scroll further down my Facebook feed only to get a punch in the gut. I put my omelette down.

Anishinaabemowin_stats

According to Keith Montreuil:

“In 1996: 36000 people identified as first language speakers (mother tongue) half of which were using the language everyday in the home. 65% of those speakers are over the age of 60 (in 1996). Fast forward ten years and we see the amount of first language speakers has dropped to 19000 (a drop of nearly half) and this is ten years later.. So that group of 60 year olds are now a group of 70 year olds. It’s predicted that the amount of first language speakers (mother tongue) will drop to less than 10000 by this year, 2016. “

These are stark and troubling statistics.  It makes me so sad, almost hopeless.

I scroll down a little further and up pops an ignorant photo posted by Janet Gretzky, the wife of my hockey hero.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 9.46.10 AM

Fuming, I started to share and write a call to action. But it occurred to me that this isn’t supposed to happen this way. We were to be the children of the 8th Fire.

The Anishinaabe, through our 8th Fire Prophecy, were predicted to thrive. We were to become equals, to come together with our other brothers and sisters in our territory and contribute towards becoming one great nation. Our language and culture would be sought after. The colonizers would realize the folly of assimilation, value our ways of life, and seek out our advice and traditional knowledge for the betterment of society and Mother Earth.

We are not the children of 8th fire. We are far from it. That’s as pessimistic as it gets.

It’s time to turn it around.

We have to realize that a prophecy isn’t just going to magically happen on it’s own. It isn’t karma, destiny, fate or the will of God. The Midewiwin certainly can’t influence midichlorians, as the Jedi do, to impose our goodwill over the Earth. There will be missteps and setbacks along the way.

We must learn from our Anishinaabe prophecies. We must act to avoid those missteps within the prophecies. For example: The prophecies tell us that “the rivers will run with poison and the fish will become unfit to eat”. That’s precisely why Anishinaabeg women are standing up for the water. We must learn and adapt in order to take ourselves, our families, our nation in the right direction to ensure we lead the Anishinaabeg into that eighth and final fire of glory.

We must continue to take action. This action must be personal action.

  • Only I (only you), can work towards learning Anishinaabemowin.
  • Only I (only you), can take political action that makes our language a governmental priority for our First Nations governments, political leaders and our federal and provincial government by demanding programs, funding and support to our priorities.
  • Only I (only you), can stand up to those who act inappropriately by furthering negative stereotypes and trivializing our culture and it’s sacredness.
  • Only I (only you), can say something when you see an act of racism or someone who is treated disrespectfully.
  • Only I (only you), can contribute personally towards the goals of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

The 8th Fire is coming. We all need to be ready for it whether it’s this generation or the next. We have to learn today what it takes to be better tomorrow.

Never give up. Never succumb to statistics and social media pessimism (even if it is mine).

An Invitation to our Pow-Wow family. Brampton’s first ever Indigenous Festival & Pow-Wow

More and more urban communities across Turtle Island are hosting traditional gatherings.  In the Greater Toronto Area, we’ve seen one-day gatherings spring up in Orangeville, Aurora and Pickering on top of the successful pow-wows put on by the Native Canadian Centre, Native Men’s Residence and Native Child & Family Services.

Now it’s Brampton’s turn.

The Oneida Circle is hosting the first annual Akweni Ki Indigenous Festival, on Saturday, September 24.  The festival includes their first ever traditional pow-wow and an evening gala featuring Anishinaabe recording artist Crystal Shawanda and Oji-Cree Miss Universe contestant Melinda Henderson.

This gathering is gaining a lot of momentum and excitement.  It is turning out to be the fall pow-wow that you just can’t miss.  I personally would like to invite all my pow-wow family…  all singers, dancers, hummers and limpers to add this to your calendar and plan on attending.

1st Annual Akweni Ki Traditional Pow-Wow

Saturday, September 24, 2016
Brampton Fairgrounds, 12942 Heart Lake Road, Caledon, ON

MC:  Bob Goulais
Arena Director:  Earl Oegema
Host Drum:  Black Bull Moose
Grand Entry:  Saturday, September 24 at 12 noon. 

AkweniKi_poster

 

Love, Respect, Kindness are integral to eradicating Racism

bob_ceremony

“We are all brothers and sisters in Creation.” – Bob Goulais

 

Opening Remarks to the first Public Meeting of the Ontario Anti-Racism Directorate held in Toronto, Ontario on July 15, 2016.

I want to offer some words to start off this important gathering in a good way.

As indigenous people we look to the guidance from the Spirit World and from our great and kind Creator, G’zhemnidoo, to provide us with direction in times of difficulty.

When our lives are burdened and our spirits are hurt through our collective and respective experiences with racism.

That numbing and gnawing grief we feel when we see our brothers and sisters torn down as a result of that racism.

And this is a particularly difficult time for many of our brothers and sisters facing such adversity and who are working hard to get across the message that Black lives matter.

We need to support and reinforce the message of those who are experiencing the worst that racism, discrimination, hate and intolerance brings.  We need to support our brothers and sisters and stand by them during their time of need.

We also have to look to the teachings of humanity – those original instructions and sacred law that were given to us all at the time of Creation.

Our eldest ancestors were put on Mother Earth together, at the same time, and in a very real way as brothers and sisters. We can all trace our ancestors back to our Creation Story – back to our respective creation stories.

The very first thing that we’re told when we learn our Creation Story is that “all creation stories are true“. That meaning, we must respect and believe in each other’s creation mythology and origin stories. To Love and appreciate one another’s culture, history and Spiritual ways of life.

For the Anishinaabe, when humankind was first put on the Earth, we were lowered down in a gentle, kind way from the Spirit Realm. Our feet touched the Earth for the first time in a physical way.

We’re told that there were four original brothers, the Yellow, Red, Black and White. At that time, we were all given original instructions and sacred law from the Creator.

We were given two very important gifts that were not given to any other living being on the face of the Earth. Those gifts where the gift of intelligence – to be able to think and reason; and the gift of freewill, to make choices based on what is needed for ourselves and those around us.

Sometime later, in a time of great need, the Anishinaabe people were given seven sacred teachings to show us how we are to interact and relate to one another, and the world around us. These Seven Grandfather Teachings don’t solely belong to Anishinaabeg people. These teachings were given to all of humanity, for us as Anishinaabe to share, teach and reinforce to all God’s creatures.

Those seven teachings are the teachings of Love – to know Love is to know peace. Respect – to honour all of Creation is to know respect. Humility – to know that we are just a small part of Creation.

The teachings of Bravery, Honesty, Truth and Wisdom were given to us to to reinforce our instructions to be the best people we can be. To live a good life – a philosophy we call Mno Bimaadiziwin.

To live a life of hate, to live a life of hurt, to treat each other without that Love and Respect is painful to us all. It’s contradictory to our original instructions. It’s contradictory to Sacred Law.

How do we begin eradicate racism, discrimination, hate and intolerance?

It takes a lot for us to get out of our heads. We tend to want to overthink things, to analyze the issues and risk factors and come up with a good public policy response.

But when it comes to emotional and the spiritual, we have to get out of out heads and into our hearts.

We need to bring back ourselves to those original teachings that we are all brothers and sisters in Creation.

We are expected to Love, Respect and Honour each other. We need to offer each other kindness and gentleness.

That’s what I’m going to ask for during this prayer. That’s why I smudged this room with our sacred medicines prior to our meeting this evening. I asked the Spirit to provide us with a place where we can have a progressive, sensible and respectful dialogue. Where we need not succumb to anger or frustration.

Every one of us in this room, are advocates for change and believe in this a world without racism, discrimination, hate and intolerance.

We, in this room, are all going to be part of the solution.

And I’m a firm believer that Canada, and the vast majority of people that make up this beautiful multicultural mosaic, truly embody the Seven Grandfather teachings.


 

With much credit and Love to our teacher, Bawdwaywidun Binaise. Gchi-miigwetch, gchi-gimaa ni ge’kinoomaaged.

The North Bay Comedy Festival, August 12-15. Be there or be… somewhere else.

northbaycomedy3I want to give a big shout out to support my friends Clint Couchie and Ryan McMahon.  These guys are putting the mainstream into Aboriginal comedy.

No longer does Nish humour have to be niche humour.

Today, these young indigenous comics are entertaining diverse audiences from Winnipeg to Montreal… and all locales in between, including North Bay.

Slynish Productions is organizing North Bay’s first Comedy Festival taking place August 12-15, 2015.  The headliner will be Winnipeg’s very own Ryan McMahon who will be at Moose’s Cook House in North Bay on the evening of August 12.  Clint Couchie will also be performing as well as fellow comics Gavan Stephens, Phil Luzi, Sandra Battaglini and Gilson Lubin.

All local comedy fans, please support the North Bay Comedy Festival.

If you are planning to visit the North Bay area, check out some good gut-bustin’ comedy.  The wings are pretty good too!

 

 

 

For tickets and for more information visit: http://slynish.wix.com/northbaycomedyfest

Be there or be… somewhere else.  Ayyyy!  Just kidding!!  Dew!!!  Baw!!!!

 

clintcouchie

Clint Couchie

Nbisiing Women speak out to leading candidate for Chief

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Scott McLeod

Scott McLeod proposes to establish a forum for Women, Elders and Youth

The women of Nipissing First Nation will be a strong voice to hear from in this week’s election for Chief and Council.  Scott McLeod, the leading candidate for Chief, has heard from a number of Nbisiing kwewag over the course of his campaign and through a survey sent out recently.

“It’s clear to me that women in Nipissing First Nation are expecting to be heard on a great number of issues facing our community,” said Scott McLeod, Crane Clan and a direct descendant of Chief Shabogesic. “I think it’s important that we establish and support a specific forum for the women to participate and show their concerns to Chief and Council.”

Scott expressed a few kind words for the role of women in his life and the life of the community.

“We depend so much on their advice, direction and in how they care for and nurture our community. They are also our life givers – caretakers for the Lake, the water and Mother Earth. We have to honour them in their role as leaders in the community,” said Scott.

Scott McLeod has also voiced his support for an Elder’s Forum and a Youth Forum that will provide a voice directly to Chief and Council, and when required, the community, and governance functions.

“To me, this is a logical direction in self-government and grass-roots representation. This is what the community is asking for and expecting of their government.”

Scott was happy to share some of the interim results of the Nipissing First Nation Women’s Survey as well as some of the comments that struck a chord with him.

“As we establish and continue with an ongoing Women’s Forum, we’ll hear from more and more from Nipissing First Nation women, their perspectives and their issues,” concluded Scott.

  • Election Day, Friday, July 10 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. in Garden Village and Duchesnay.

For more information:


 

INTERIM RESULTS OF THE NIPISSING FIRST NATION WOMEN’S SURVEY

The following results of the survey and shared comments may not represent the views of all Nipissing First Nation women nor are they an exhaustive list of issues important to Nbisiing kwewag.  If you are a Nipissing First Nation woman and are interested in providing your views, you are invited to fill out the survey.

Ranking of Women’s Issues in Nipissing First Nation

ISSUE SCORE RANK
Education of our children, taking care of the youth. 100 1
As women & caretakers of the water & the Lake, being more involved in the fisheries discussions from a women’s perspective. 81 2
Safety, addressing family violence & missing and murdered Aboriginal women. 76 3
Our Nbisiing culture & Ojibwemowin language 60 4
Being coming more involved in NFN business & having a forum to discuss women’s issues 58 5

Comments from the Women’s Survey

  • “Creation of a Women’s Council where our opinions on critical decisions are included and acted upon.”
  • “Job creation or training should be one of the highest priorities. You can’t create a job for everyone here but if they were trained themselves, they would have a better chance of getting a job somewhere.”
  • “I would say the highest priority are our waters and lakes. Without them we cannot take care of our children, families or any issues of any kind. Our culture is so important. We must do everything we can to preserve it.”
  • “For me it is being treated fairly. It shouldn’t matter what your name is or what family your belong to. Treat all people with respect no matter what area or side of the Nipissing First Nation you were raised and grew up in.”
  • “Discussions regarding Elders/Long-Term Care facilities would be an important issue.”
  • “Membership, passing status to our children and grandchildren and the one parent rule.”
  • “I find that the most important issue I have is being able to have a roof over my children’s heads and food on the table and knowing that my children are safe in their environment. I would move back to Nipissing if there were more affordable housing and jobs that I would be qualified for so I can support my family while living in the community.”
  • “I feel that substance abuse is huge with NFN women! We have so many women who are losing their children to foster cares outside of NFN due to drug use. We need more help with woman for substance abuse, more involvement with parenting and we need a women’s shelter in the Garden Village area.”
  • “For me, the most important issue is my children having an education that is rich in our culture and teachings, provided in Anishinaabemowin. They need to grow and learn in safe, culturally oriented environments, where we can teach them to be safe and respectful, and instill pride in who they are as Anishinaabe.”
  • “Expanding upon Nbisiing Secondary school to include all grades and provide language immersion.

Scott McLeod represents real change. That’s why I’m For Scott.

ImForScott

Ahniin-Boozhoo Nbisiing Anishinaabeg, niin dwaymaaginidoog minwaa niikaanisidoog.  Mno Canada-giizhgad.

(Ed. Note:  This post turned out a little longer than I wanted in a Canada Day message because the message is so important.  Please make sure you read and respond to the “Call To Action” below.)

Canada Day is a good time to reflect on our own Nationhood as Anishinaabe people.  And not just because we may be taking the holiday off.

Whether you are a citizen of Nipissing First Nation, another First Nation community, the Anishinabek Nation or one of the many indigenous nations from sea to shining sea – all indigenous people should give serious thought to our own survival in the face of continued attempts at assimilation, racism and challenges to our sovereignty.

We also have to give careful thought to the selection of our leaders.  Our leaders, our Gimaag and Gimaakwewag, are the people that we entrust with defending our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, facilitating change and determining a course of action for our communities as we move towards Anishinaabe self-government.

On July 10, Nipissing First Nation has an election.  For the first time in nine years we are electing a new Chief to lead us through one the most difficult times that our community has faced.  These include serious challenges to our inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights.  Outsiders are calling for an end to our legal rights.  We are facing blatant racism from our neighbours.  Those attitudes are being perpetuated by social media, the mainstream media and so-called stakeholder organizations.  There is a serious issue to deal with in restoring the health of Lake Nipissing, building our economy and finding alternative and well-paying jobs to the commercial fishery.  This is a serious time for us in Nipissing.  We have to get this right!

My fellow Nbisiing men and women:

  • We need a Chief that has the strength and competency to lead us through this important period of change.
  • We need someone that will listen and care for our people.
  • We need someone who has the energy, resilience and youthfulness to keep up with the grinding days, weeks, months and years ahead.
  • Most importantly, we need someone who hasn’t been beleaguered and gun-shy by the inaction of their counterparts.

Electing an incumbent Councillor as our Chief is NOT change.  It’s the same old, same old.  We need someone who can confidently facilitate real change. Period.  Full stop!!

For heaven’s sake, please don’t mark an ‘X’ next to a name just because you’ve been doing it for years or because you’ve been comfortable with them for years as a Councillor.  Don’t vote for anyone just because they are a nice guy.  They’re all nice guys.  And don’t just vote for someone because they are your cousin.  An election shouldn’t be a popularity contest.  This is a serious time for us in Nipissing.  We have to get this right!

To me, given what I’ve said in a previous post, Scott McLeod is the only choice for Chief of Nipissing First Nation.

A CALL TO ACTION

Please join me, as we launch the slogan: “I’m For Scott”.

  1. Please share this post, create your own Facebook status update, a Twitter tweet or social media post saying “I’m For Scott”.  Let people know that you support real change by electing Scott McLeod.
  2. In your Facebook and social media posts, please use the hashtag:  #ImforScott
  3. Please post or share the I’m For Scott image (above).  Use it as your Profile Pic until July 10 at 8 p.m.
  4. Go to Scott’s Facebook page and hit “Like”.
  5. Share this post via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Show your support for Scott McLeod.  Be vocal and speak up, let your friends know that: “I’m For Scott”.

These little actions can go a long way in ensuring that the right decision is made at the ballot box.

Mi iw.  Gchi Miigwetch, Anishinaabeg.


 

IMPORTANT ELECTION INFORMATION

  • Advance Poll, Saturday, July 4 9-2 p.m. in Garden Village
  • Election Day Friday July 10 9-8 p.m. in Duchesnay and Garden Village
  • Living off-reserve? Please send in your mail-in ballots.
  • Need more information, contact the Electoral Officer (705) 303-6868